Going Nuclear --- in a Good Way

Photo of Jason Guy

Brief description of the business:  Founded in 2005, Unified Healthcare, LLC is a nuclear pharmacy, which is a highly specialized pharmacy dedicated to the compounding and dispensing of radioactive materials for use in nuclear imaging and nuclear medical products. More specifically, nuclear pharmacy is a specialty practice of pharmacy defined as a patient-oriented service embodying the scientific knowledge and professional judgment required to improve and promote health through the safe and efficacious use of radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy.

Nuclear pharmacists receive extensive training on the various radiopharmaceuticals that they use. They are trained in radiation safety and other aspects specific to the compounding and preparation of radioactive materials. To become a pharmacist requires years of school and training, but a nuclear pharmacist requires several hundred hours of training in basic radioisotope handling techniques, both in the classroom and laboratory, as well and about 500 hours of training in handling unsealed radioactive material.

Jason Guy obtained a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the Mercer Pharmacy School in Atlanta in 1998. Upon graduating, he worked as a staff nuclear pharmacist for a pharmacy company for three years before being promoted to manager. When his employer was purchased by a competitor, Jason worked for two large pharmacies over the next few years before opening his company in in 2005.  

SBA Assistance: SBA Express Loan in 2005 that was paid in full in 2009.

Number of employees: 5 full-time employees; 8 part-time employees        

Staying power:  In addition to Unified Healthcare, there are only four other nuclear pharmacies in Kentucky, including one competitor in Louisville that also has a location in Lexington, as well as an independent pharmacy in Paducah and one in London, KY.

Jason Guy’s company fulfills the diagnostic needs and radiotherapy requirements of the doctors and thousands of patients in the region. Local hospitals and cardiac clinics rely on Unified Healthcare to ensure that all state and federal laws governing the preparation of radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine diagnostic tests are following with precision and that all doses dispensed meet safety and efficacy requirements in the healthcare field.

Unified Healthcare, LLC has had a healthy growth pattern since its inception. In fact, from 2012 – 2014, the company revenues increased by almost 53%, net profit grew by over 125% and net worth improved by 61.5%. That pattern continues, and Jason Guy expects to expand soon. 

Response to adversity or problems: Although extremely important to the healthcare field, uranium use poses a real threat to national security. Unified Healthcare, LLC was the first nuclear pharmacy in Kentucky that supplies Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) doses to its customers.  In fact, Unified Healthcare is recognized as one of just 15 Nuclear Pharmacies nationwide to have the National Nuclear Security Administration designation to provide LEU doses to its patients in an initiative by the White House in 2013 to accelerate LEU access in the healthcare industry. This is important, and the President of the United States recognized the danger in the use of weapons grade Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) used in the medical field posed a potential threat by terrorists to be used as a “dirty bomb” in the U.S. and around the world. 

After opening in 2005, Unified Healthcare was accepted by several physicians’ offices but very few hospitals as a viable competitor in the Louisville market. Although recognized by the Small Business Administration as a small business concern, only one major hospital group in Louisville currently supports doing business with Unified Healthcare. This has been quite an endeavor to gain support from the larger hospital groups, even though those hospitals have benefitted from the fact that having competition in the Louisville market makes hospital pricing lower and services better. In addition, with the reimbursement of LEU, Unified Healthcare has helped its customers thrive in getting a CMS rebate back for supporting the LEU initiative. 

Community Involvement:  Unified Healthcare supports Wounded Warrior Project®, Safe Place, a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety, and the American Cancer Society. Owner Jason Guy is a member of the United Pharmacy Partners, Inc. (UPPI) Independent Pharmacy Group. UPPI is a network of over 80 independent pharmacies around the country and a leader in traditional nuclear medicine and the rapidly growing nuclear and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) pharmacy industry, which uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers, a special camera and a computer to help evaluate organ and tissue functions. 

Jason and his wife co-own the business. He is active in his church and also coaches volleyball, flag football and field hockey.

 

Company Name: 
Unified Healthcare, LLC
Location: 
Louisville, KY